PORTLAND, Ore., (July 30, 2001) - On the back of the strongest showing ever by BMW in the American Le Mans Series to date, BMW Team PTG and BMW Motorsport now aim their potent V8-powered M3 GTRs at the two-hour-and-forty-five-minute Grand...
PORTLAND, Ore., (July 30, 2001) - On the back of the strongest showing ever by BMW in the American Le Mans Series to date, BMW Team PTG and BMW Motorsport now aim their potent V8-powered M3 GTRs at the two-hour-and-forty-five-minute Grand Prix of Portland at Portland International Raceway on August 5.
With its 1-2-3-4 BMW M3 GTR GT-class sweep at Sears Point Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., last week, BMW has closed the GT-class manufacturer's championship race to within two points of Porsche, and the driver's championship has tightened up.
In the chase for the driver's crown, BMW Motorsport drivers Jörg Müller and JJ Lehto are third and fourth, while Team PTG drivers Boris Said and Hans Stuck are tied for fifth. After three events so far, all four men are less than 10 points out of the class lead. Team PTG drivers Bill Auberlen and Niclas Jönsson stand 12th and 15th and BMW Motorsport drivers Dirk Müller and Fredrik Ekblom are 13th and 14th.
"I've always said that BMWs are hard to beat at Sears Point," said PTG owner Tom Milner. "But the longer straights at Portland may make things closer than they were last weekend. We were a little rusty at Sears - our pit stops could have been better - but overall it was a great weekend for BMW."
Although appearing similar in specification, Portland's 11-turn, 1.944-mile circuit differs from the twisty 12-turn, 2.52-mile layout at Sears Point by two long straightaways and sweeping corners that put a premium on speed and balance.
"While Portland may not look difficult, it is a demanding track in terms of driving precision," said Stuck. "The long, long corners require a very good car set-up so you can take advantage of a number of good overtaking options. It should be a good track for the GTR, but remember the straights will make for tougher competition than we had at Sears Point."
"Sears was phenomenal for BMW," said Auberlen, who set a new race record in the No. 10 M3 GTR. "We led for a long time and we learned some things at that race that I think could put Team PTG into victory lane at Portland." The M3 GTR is the foundation of a renewed M3 racing effort for BMW as both BMW Team PTG and BMW Motorsport will vie for the American Le Mans Series GT class championship in 2001.
The American Le Mans Grand Prix of Portland is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. PDT on August 5 and will be televised on a tape-delay basis by the Speedvision Network at both 8:30 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. EDT on August 6. The race can be heard online through the American Le Mans Radio Web at www.americanlemans.com.